Leprosy declines in Morocco after implementation of preventive drug

Given that 2012, the number of cases of leprosy in Morocco has declined by more than 16 per cent per year. That change can be attributed to the implementation, from this year, of single dose rifampicin as a preventive to spread leprosy through families, researchers report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases this week.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease, influencing mainly the skin and peripheral nerves, which can lead to severe impairment. Since antibacterial multidrug treatment against leprosy was launched in 1981, the amount of instances of leprosy worldwide has plummeted. To fully disrupt transmission in countries such as Morocco, however, additional control efforts are needed. This year, Morocco introduced a program to manage Single Dosage Rifampicin Chemoprophylaxis (SDRC) to stop the spread of leprosy between household connections.

In the new work, Ibtissam Khoudri of Morocco’s Ministry of Health and colleagues analyzed the leprosy cases detected in The other agents every year between 2000 and 2017. Data on leprosy patients — including age, gender, origin, region, and grade of disability — was included.

Between 2000 and 2012, the annual percent change of leprosy cases was -4. 68% per year. However, after the implementation of SDRC, between 2012 and 2017, the annual percent change was -16. 83% per year. In particular, the number of cases decreased more quickly after 2012 in men, children, ten specific regions, and in both urban and rural areas. During the last five years, an average of just 26 new cases per year were detected.

“This time series can be of interest for the medical community as the authors analyze the trends in leprosy in the last 17 years and try to generate a hypothesis about any relationship with chemoprophylaxis implementation, ” the researchers say.

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